Did you know that out of the 1 out of 8 couples that suffer from infertility, 20% of the time it’s completely due to sperm related issues? Male infertility can be a result of genetic, hormonal or physical complications, making infertility more common than you may think amongst men. Today, we look at the factors that affect male fertility.
1. What really causes infertility amongst men?
Although there is a wide spectrum of possibilities that may result in male infertility, some of the common factors include:
- The presence of swollen or dilated veins surrounding the testicles (a condition known as Varicocele), occurring commonly in the left testicle and causing damage to sperm. Today, 15 out of 100 men are diagnosed with Varicocele.
- Hormonal issues that are often triggered by unhealthy weight gain or loss can decrease and even completely halt the production of sperm in the body.
- Infections in the body, such as prostate infections or epididymis infections can have an impact on male fertility.
- Structural issues in the penis may cause a blockage in the healthy flow of sperm. This can often be corrected with minor surgery.
- Other less common factors such as oxidative stress can damage the sperm cell membrane and structural DNA.
- Several medications and medical treatments can interfere with the healthy production of sperm in the body.
2. What can be done to increase fertility in men?
First and foremost, a healthy body has a direct effect on the health of sperm produced in the body. A healthy BMI, sticking to a healthy diet, regular exercise and ensuring healthy vitamin levels in the body promote fertility in men.
Folic acid, zinc and Vitamin C can improve the quality of sperm and boost sperm manoeuvrability.
3. How is sperm tested?
Semen analysis that is carried out by an andrologist helps evaluate the health of sperm. Sperm is tested for three main factors- motility, count and morphology. Motility refers to the ability of sperm to move effectively. 40% of the total count should be moving forward rapidly. Morphology relates to the shape of the sperm with the head and tail intact. 14% of the sperm should be normal. The count refers to the total amount of sperm in seminal fluid. A healthy concentration is at least 15 million per ml, with a total volume of at least 2ml.
4. Does ageing affect male fertility?
When it comes to infertility, women get a lot of the blame. But the truth is, male fertility decline is a factor in 30–40% of infertility cases. Men younger than 40 have a better chance of fathering a child than those older than 40. The quality of the sperm men produce seems to decline as they get older. Most men make millions of new sperm every day, but men older than 40 have fewer healthy sperm than younger men.
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